Russia has proposed a trilateral summit between its President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping – despite China’s continued belligerence throughout its disputed border with India. However, New Delhi remained without commitment on the proposal.
Putin had a video conference with Xi on Wednesday and one of the topics discussed by the two leaders was the prospects for trilateral cooperation within the framework of Russia-India-China (RIC). They “agreed to continue to exchange opinions on this matter and to endeavor to hold the next summit within the framework of the RIC in the near future”, declared the assistant of Putin, Yuri Ushakov, as quoted by the Russian president. . TASS news agency Thursday.
New Delhi, however, has remained elusive about Moscow’s proposal.
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Foreign Ministry (MEA) spokesman Arindam Bagchi on Thursday recalled the last virtual meeting of Russian, Indian and Chinese foreign ministers on November 26, but declined to confirm any further development on the RIC.
He was responding to journalists’ questions about the possibility of Modi, Putin and Xi holding a trilateral summit, as the Russian president’s aide in Moscow said.
Modi, Putin and Xi had organized the second RIC summit on the sidelines of the G-20 conclave in Buenos Aires in December 2018 – almost 12 years after the then leaders of the three nations held the first trilateral meeting. This was followed by the third RIC summit on the sidelines of the G-20 meeting in Osaka in June 2019.
The summit, however, could not take place in 2020 and 2021 as the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world and India’s relations with China hit a new low on the military standoff along of the actual line of control (LAC) between the two. nations of eastern Ladakh.
The Russian president held the video conference with the Chinese president less than 10 days after his visit to New Delhi and had a bilateral summit with the Indian prime minister.
The Modi-Putin summit in New Delhi on December 6 was preceded by the India-Russia 2 + 2 dialogue, which was held between the foreign and defense ministers of the two sides. The back-to-back engagements saw India highlight its “increased need” for military and military-technical cooperation with Russia to address the security challenges it faced, particularly China’s aggression along the LAC in eastern Ladakh.
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The proposed Putin-Modi-Xi trilateral summit came amid the lingering standoff between the Indian military and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army along the LAC – the de facto border between the two nations in the western sector.
The stalemate began in April-May 2020, when the Indian military had to deploy additional troops in response to the Chinese PLA’s decision to muster large numbers of troops near the ALC, seen as an obvious attempt. to unilaterally change the status quo along the contested boundary and push the line west. It reached a flash point on June 15, 2020, when 20 Indian army soldiers and at least four Chinese PLA personnel were killed in a violent clash in the Galwan Valley, in the east of Ladakh.
The Modi-Putin summit on December 6 saw the two sides agree to intensify cooperation between Russia, India and China under the ICN to promote common approaches on urgent issues on the agenda. global and regional, according to a joint statement issued in New Delhi. and Moscow after the meeting.